By Jarryl Bryan
Following an evening of elegance, allure and performances from local artistes, Calvin Burnette and Negus, 25-year-old Shauna Ramdyhan was crowned Miss Guyana Universe 2015 on Sunday.
The event, which was well attended by every echelon of society, saw the nine contestants putting it all on the line before the vocal and sometimes critical crowd in the Princess Hotel ball room.
Those who competed for the title this year were Shauna Ramdyhan, Zena Bland, Najuma Nelson, Babita Seelall, Malika Russel, Tricia Quail, Diana Hamad, Kiswana Jefford and Melissa DeFreitas.
By the time the dust settled, only Ramdyhan, Bland, Quail and Hamad were left standing as the final four contestants. They were each then secluded and asked the same question by Master of Ceremonies (MC) Bobby Vieria, after which Ramdhyan was adjudged the winner, Hamad the first runner up, Quail the second and Bland third.
The event kicked off with Vegas style dance routines, after which each delegate introduced themselves. Ramdhyan, who spoke in fluent mandarin during her introduction, definitely left an impression on everyone’s mind.
For delegate number three, Najuma Nelson, her gaffe about making rum for a living –she is a chemist at Demerara Distillers Limited– made her instantly popular with the crowd. There was also a self-styled ‘team Najuma’ in the crowd, whose members came complete with banners to cheer her on.
Malika Russel’s confidence in her introduction as a future Minister of Agriculture earned her much applause. It even provoked debate as persons contended what an attractive Minister of Agriculture she would make.
Diana Ahmad displayed her charisma as she called on the ladies to grab their lipstick and high heels and not let anything stop them. She certainly did not let her malfunctioning mike stop her from imparting this message and the crowd was duly appreciative.
Describing herself as a woman who never walks when she can run, Kiswanna Jefford’s sassy steps and dance moves on the catwalk also provoked raucous applause.
Immediately afterwards, radio broadcaster Feliz Robertson (who shared the MC duties) was coerced by Vieira into taking a walk down the catwalk and showing off her dress.
After fierce competition during the swimsuit segment, where beautifully toned bodies sashayed down the cat walk, it was time for the evening wear. The elegance exhibited by the ladies produced several “oohs” and “ahhs”, especially when Bland exhibited a lime green dress with glitzy silver highlights, done by an overseas-based designer.
Diana Hamad’s shimmering gold dress, done by veteran local designer, Derek Moore, was also an eye catching piece.
At this point it had been such an even competition that the crowd had difficulties identifying a clear frontrunner. That would change as the judging panel named Najuma Nelson as the winner of the best smile award, Shauna Ramdyhan as Miss Best Body and Malika Russel as Miss Congeniality.
After the delegates were mowed down to the final four and they had been serenaded by GT&T jingle and song competition star Calvin Burnette, it was time for the final question; ‘What is the one thing you would save if your house was burning? This provoked boisterous commentary from the crowd.
And with each answer given by the delegates, it seemed as if the judging panel had been extended to the crowd who put forward their own theories of which answers were right or wrong.
Ramdyhan’s response was that she would save pictures of her family, as they represented important memories.
Quail’s response to this question was that she would save her great-grandmother’s rosary (Roman Catholic emblem), which she used to pray with every day.
Bland’s response was that she would save her little brother, who she described as her heart and soul. While touching, this response sparked the loudest debate as it became obvious she had missed the import of the question. While the MC had asked about an inanimate object, Bland had referred to someone.
Ahmad’s answer was that she would save her family album of photos, assuming that her family was already saved. This seemed to find the most favor with the crowd as a ‘middle the road’ response. But as the roll call of third and second runners up was completed, the paradigm had shifted.
As Ramdyhan and Hamad held hands, there was that infinitesimal moment where time hangs in the balance, before the fateful announcement was made. As expected, Ramdyhan was mobbed by well wishers who included Miss Guyana Universe 2014 Nikita Barker and Junior Minister of Education with responsibility for sport, Nicolette Henry.
Ramdyhan was born in Georgetown but also lived at Crane, West Coast Demerara, and Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara.
In 2005, she completed her Secondary education, and emerged as the Best Graduating Student at Christ Church Secondary School.
She also completed one year of Sixth form at the St. Joseph’s High. In 2008, she received a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree of Social Science in Economics at Donghua University in Shanghai, China. There, she learnt Mandarin during her five-year stay.
Details of Ramdyhan’s impending journey will follow.
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